2017 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to our winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

Thank you for making this another successful year! We received many submissions from students in 40 U.S. states and 21 foreign countries, including Colombia, Ukraine, and Singapore. We would also like to thank the over 500 ASHG members who participated in judging the essays!

2017 Question

In the early 1990s, gene therapy was hailed as a potential treatment or cure for many genetic diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, problems during clinical trials, including the death of a patient due to a fatal immune reaction, forced scientists to re-think their strategies. Recent advances in biology have made gene therapy more promising than ever and expanded the field beyond its original concept of providing an additional, functional copy of a malfunctioning gene to specific cells. Choose one modern example of gene therapy (since 2005), describe the disease or condition researchers are attempting to treat, and explain how the therapy/approach might repair the underlying cause of the disease or condition.



2017 Winners

1st Place: Adele Peng, Grade 9
Teacher: Aubrie Holman
School: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Location: Alexandria, VA

2nd Place: Sophia Spiegel, Grade 11
Teacher: Judith Pinto
School: Bergen County Academics
Location: Hackensack, NJ

3rd Place: Alvin Ya, Grade 12
Teacher: Mary Alice Adah
School: Poolesville High School
Location: Poolesville, MD

Honorable Mentions

Blake Holman
Lake Dallas High School
Corinth, TX
Teacher: Cynthia Powers
Arielle Rothman
North Shore Hebrew Academy High School
Great Neck, NY
Teacher: Lisa Runco
Jio Jeong
Seoul International School
Seongnam-si, South Korea
Teacher: Eugene Lee
Julian Rubinfien
Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY
Teacher: Maria Nedwidek-Moore
Lucy Liu
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Aurora, IL
Teacher: Crystal Randall
Olivia Wilkes
Home School
Toney, AL
Teacher: Linda Wilkes
Alleanna Marquez
Whitestation High School
Memphis, TN
Teacher: Chikezie Madu
Lina Zein
Hathaway Brown School
Shaker Heights, OH
Teacher: Sheri Homany
Rhea Park
Head-Royce School
Oakland, CA
Teacher: Jennifer Brakeman
Jacob Zinberg
Torah Academy of Bergen County
Teaneck, NJ
Teacher: Garry Katz
Tharushi Perera
Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis

Where in the world our submissions come from:

About the Contest

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important ideas and issues related to human genetics. Competitive essays are expected to convey substantive, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments that demonstrate deep understanding.

Essays are evaluated through three rounds of judging, and every essay is read by a minimum of three judges. Top-scoring essays have typically been scored by a dozen or more judges.

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

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